February 18, 2020

DOT-Commissioner-Questioned.pngDOT Commissioner Questioned On Oakdale Merge “Malfunction Junction”

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez was the featured guest speaker at the LIA’s Economic Development & Infrastructure Committee meeting on February 13th

Commissioner Dominquez was warmly received by the overfilled room who attended to hear the state’s plans for Long Island’s infrastructure. She was accompanied by Assistant Commissioner George Paralemos, LI Acting Regional Director Rich Causin and LI Regional Planning Director Glenn Murrell.

Highlighting the interconnectedness of Long Island’s transportation history and its economic vitality, the commissioner singled out several active projects that will further enhance the region’s vitality and attractiveness. These included the Walt Whitman Road Bridge, now under construction by Grace Industries, and the multi-use pathway extension along Ocean Parkway, from Tobay Beach to Captree Park. She also expressed the importance of the recently completed sustainability hardening project of the Nassau Expressway and the transformative LIRR Third Track project.

Following her remarks, Commissioner Dominquez graciously accepted questions from the audience. Kevin Law, President and CEO of the LIA, moderated the Q&A and kicked things off with the first question. He immediately informed the commissioner that the LIA’s 2020 priorities include support for a new capital plan that fully funds critical road, highway and bridge projects on Long Island, and the Oakdale Merge should be one of the top priority projects in that plan. Law informed her that this priority is shared by many of the groups present, including the Association for a Better Long Island and the Long Island Builders Institute and then called upon LICA Executive Director Marc Herbst to expound upon the need for the project. 

Herbst began by thanking the commissioner and praised her department for the excellent working partnership they provide the heavy construction industry. He then explained the need to finally move forward with safety and capacity improvements at the region’s worst traffic choke point. Herbst urged the department to support an Environmental Impact Study to move the process forward towards actual construction.

Jim Morgo, a member of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Committee, was among those who followed up publicly calling for action at the Oakdale Merge. He reported having conversation with Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter regarding interest expressed from private entities willing to explore providing financial assistance to support improvements in the corridor. He asked Dominquez to consider a public-private partnership opportunity for this project. She expressed willingness to review the concept.

Commissioner Dominquez’s presentation lifted up confidence for those in the audience about the state’s commitment for the Long Island region’s infrastructure.

 

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